What is Shock Loss After a Hair Transplant?
Just because a hair transplant may not be as invasive as other types of plastic surgery, there are still side effects and issues that may arise after the surgery.
This is why it’s extremely important to make sure you’re doing your due diligence when it comes to finding a hair specialist to perform the procedure. By having a skilled surgeon doing the work, you may be less likely to experience these side effects, or issues, after your procedure but if something concerning does arise, an experience surgeon can offer reassurance, guide you on what to expect and treat you accordingly after surgery.
One of the issues that can occur after receiving a hair transplant is a condition known as “shock loss”.
Shock loss only occurs in less than 5% of hair transplant cases, with the majority of those cases being temporary.
When the procedure, regardless of if you’re having FUE or FUT, is performed hastily or incorrectly, it can lead to complications and unwanted side effects such as shock loss. However, even with the most skill physician, sometimes shock loss happens for no apparent reason. Knowing that it is temporary, the experience doctor can “hold your hand” while you recover.
At the Limmer Hair Transplant Center, our team of skilled professionals is always lead by our licensed surgeon, Dr. Krejci, who is a board-certified dermatologist with many years of experience performing hair transplants.
When coming to our office for a hair transplant procedure, Dr. Krejci will always be hands-on throughout the entirety of the surgery. This ensures that everything is done with the utmost quality and skill. We want you to be happy with your hair and the only way we can do that is to ensure that we do the best work possible.
We don’t really know what causes shock loss but when the transplant procedure is performed, the donor area within the scalp can become traumatized, or “shocked”, causing hair loss to occur even with the most skilled professionals.
In most cases though, shock loss is a temporary issue and unfortunately you end up waiting for your native hair to grow back along with your transplanted hair. It may take 3-6 months to start to see hair growing in the areas that were falling out.
What is Shock Loss?
When we talk about shock loss we’re referring to the sudden loss of native hair following a hair transplant procedure. This hair loss is caused by the “shock” the scalp experienced during the surgery.
With FUE, shock loss can be seen throughout the donor area. With FUT, it is much less common in the donor area but can happen around sutures that may have been a little snug. It can also affect the recipient area where the grafts are placed. In either location, shock loss is the loss of your original or native hair falling out. The transplanted hair will go through its usual shed at weeks 3-4 when it goes into the dormant stage. The end result is hair that appears even thinner that when you started which can be frightening and emotionally distressing but it’s not time to panic.
It can be quite concerning to see your original hair begin to fall out after having a procedure that it supposed to do the exact opposite. Thankfully, in most cases, hair loss due to shock loss is temporary and you’ll start to see the hair grow back within a few weeks of falling out. That is why having an experience surgeon is helpful; they will be familiar with this side effect and can explain and reassure you on the timeline to recovery.
The Transplanted Hair Is Falling Out, is That Shock Loss?
As we mentioned above, shock loss can occur in the native hair in the donor and recipient (grafted) areas. We do not refer to the shedding of the newly transplanted hairs as shock loss but they nearly always fall out around the same time. The transplanted hair falling out isn’t usually related to shock loss.
Loss of the transplanted hairs on your scalp is common and even expected after a hair transplant procedure. You may start to notice that your newly transplanted hair begins to shed around weeks 3-4, but this is nothing to be concerned about.
While it may seem like your body is rejecting the transplanted hair, we actually expect the new grafted hair shafts to shed. Meanwhile the bulb is buried under the skin in a dormant phase. It takes about 3-4 months for the new transplant hairs to reemerge. Be assured, with time, both shock loss and grafted hair will grow back.
Why Does Shock Loss Occur?
Now that you know what shock loss is, and what to look for, lets talk about why shock loss may occur after a hair transplant.
As with any surgery, there is going to be some trauma to the procedure area. In a hair transplant, regardless of whether you choose the FUT or FUE method, hair follicles are excised from one area of the scalp (the donor area) and implanted into the thinning area to provide new hair growth where it’s most needed.
Either with a scalpel (for FUT) or with a small punch tool (FUE) the excision process requires grafts to be removed from the scalp in order to harvest the follicles. This act of cutting into the scalp or sometimes the sutures/staples of an FUT can “shock” the area around it, thus causing shock loss. As with the donor area, the implanted area can also be disrupted by the process of small needles or blades to insert these follicles into their new location.
The good news, as we mentioned before, is that this shedding of the hair in those areas is almost always temporary. As long as you follow your doctor’s post-surgery care instructions, you should see the hair begin to regrow in the coming months. Remember full growth of your hair transplant takes about a year.
So while it can be a little scary to see your newly transplanted hair begin to fall out of your scalp, just keep in mind that it is natural and the hair will grow back in a short amount of time.
If you’re still concerned about shock loss, or have other questions about it, please contact us and setup a consultation with our doctor. We can discuss how the procedure works and what we do in order to help prevent, or minimize, shock loss in our patients.